Asking a question need not to be a very difficult or confusing task. However, in order to get the best answer to fill your knowledge, it is important to keep a few things in mind. When it comes to asking questions, the setup has a lot to do. If you are in an educational setup and asking question to a professor or lecturer you need to keep certain things in mind, considering your position and need of information. On the other hand, if you are a journalist and you are asking a question to a political leader, your objectives and reasons are most expected to differ significantly; so the way of asking the question.
In this article we will first highlight on the general things that you need to keep in mind about asking a question wisely or to make your question sound wise. After that we will also discuss about how your questions as well as the way of asking a question should change depending on the environment and your position in that situation.
Look for intelligent questions
To ask a question wisely, the first thing you need is an intelligent question. Asking something that is very obvious can always make you look like a fool unless you are questioning a candidate in an interview or a political leader as a journalist. So, what is an intelligent question? A question that is most expected to leave some confusion or need of further clarification in the mind of most of the people listening it. Even if the point is clear but the topic is critical, you can ask for a repeat to make sure that you did not miss any part of it.
Always keep in mind that questions help in better clarification of the topic and if you are asking an intelligent question in an educational setup, it will show that you are paying actual attention to the discussion.
Frame the question correctly
Having an intelligent question is not all. You need to frame the question properly in order to convey the confusion you have perfectly to the person who can clear it. Often people with a good question are not able to frame it in the right way which makes it really difficult for the person giving the answer to understand the confusion exactly. If you are not able to frame your question in the right way, it will not only make the answer inappropriate but will also make you sound stupid. So, once you have a good question in mind, frame it properly to be sure that the person to answer the question is able to get your point of confusion without a second doubt.
Take care of your grammar
If you are asking a question with a lot of grammatical errors in it, it will not only make it more difficult for the others to understand the question but will also not make a bad impression on the listeners about your own background. When you are asking a question, make sure that it is phrased with proper grammar. Also keep an eye on the punctuations to be used in the question, because they make a sentence more easily understandable.
Make your question short
This is a very basic rule to make your question sound wise and intelligent. If you are framing your question in a very long sentence or phrase there is maximum chances that you will miss the track at the middle while presenting the question. Moreover, it might be really difficult for the person expected to answer the question, to actually understand what you need to know. If the person is not able to get your question properly, you will not get the proper answer in anyway. So, make sure that your question is small and crisp so that it is easy to understand for everyone.
Articulate your question in the right way
Articulating the question properly is one of the major points to make it sound wise. If you are asking a question with lots of filler words like, umm, hmm, ahh, in between it will certainly make it look like that you are searching for the next word and you do not have a clue about what exactly you need to know. This is something that can ruin the total thing and make you sound like a stupid. While asking the question, make sure that you stop only at the punctuations and are not adding filler words in between. If your question is brief, the chances of using filler words reduce automatically. While articulating the question it is important that your voice is perfectly audible but it is not loud.
Be confident while asking a question
You can make even a stupid question sound intelligent and worth a good answer by presenting it in the right way with perfect confidence. If you are fumbling while asking the question or if your voice suggests your nervousness, it is surely not going to work. So, when you are asking a question ask it confidently maintaining a proper tone.
Be careful about the tone
The tone of asking a question is vital. When you are asking a question to a lecturer in a presentation or when you are asking an interviewee something about his past experiences, there should be significant difference in your tone. Unless you are into journalism, demanding an answer is never the right way to go. So, be polite while asking your question and make sure that the person who is expected to answer the question is comfortable with your tone.
Maintain the right body language
When you are asking a question, maintaining the right tone is important to make yourself sound confident. However, your body language also has a lot to do about making you look and sound confident. If you are fiddling your fingers or biting your lips or batting your eyelashes repeatedly while asking a question, it is surely going to make you look stupid, no matter how intelligent your question is.
When asking a question stand or sit straight, make a direct eye contact with the person who is expected to answer your question and put your question in front of him in the easiest words possible, without fumbling. Make sure that you do not tilt your head or shake your hand or do not put your hand in your pocket while asking the question.
Another point that you need to keep in mind about your body language while asking a questions is that you should look attentive. If you look like not taking any interest about what is going on or too careless while asking a question, it will certainly reduce your chances of getting a proper answer. So, when asking a question, make sure that your body language vows for your best seriousness and attention.
Add what you understand before asking what you don’t
This is a very intelligent way of putting a question which shows your seriousness in the topic and is most expected to earn you more attention from the person expected to answer. When you are asking a question to get a clearer idea about a particular point or because you just did not get that section properly, before putting your question on the part that you did not understand, add the part that you have understood well.
For example, frame your question in this way,
“I understood why the companies were making their water bottling plant in that particular area but can you please explain once again, why they suddenly started to abandon the place?”
Framing your question this way is sure to make the person you are asking more interested about your question because it clearly says that you have been listening to his words carefully and you missed the part not because you were not paying attention.
Adjusting with the environment
When it comes to asking questions wisely, it is really important to consider the situation as well as your position in it. If you are asking a question in the capacity of a student, your question must sound polite enough to the lecturer. Never put the question in a fashion that sounds demanding or careless to the professor. Also, if he or she seems to be not comfortable with answering the question or to get into some particular sections of that question, it is best to not to push him or her further with repeated questions on the same point.
However, when it comes to asking a question in the capacity of a journalist, lawyer or employer, you might certainly need to ponder more on the point that the answer is not willing to highlight. Your ability to adjust with the environment and to be able to mold your questions according to your need of information is utmost important to get the answer which can actually fill your need of information.